Sophomore Slump for Myers?

It’s no secret that Tyler Myers had a terrific rookie season last year with the Buffalo Sabres. He recorded 11 goals and 37 assists and played in all 82 games. To complete the phenomenal season, he was awarded with the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.

The 20 year old towering defenseman played just as big as his height as he lead the team in ice time per game. Myers is considered significantly ahead of his game and has been compared to guys like Chris Pronger and Zdeno Chara but far better for his age then they were.

Many NHL players have struggled coming off of their rookie season. Will this season be a rough patch for Myers? Sabres fans hope that he doesn’t struggle, but it might be inevitable.

Myers will not have his partner from last year in Henrik Tallinder. Myers and Tallinder worked very well together and they brought out the best in each other. Will Myers still be effective without Tallinder? We will have to see how this season plays out.

We will find out who will be his new partner when the regular season starts on October 8th, if not sooner. The early leader to be his partner is journeyman defenseman, Jordan Leopold who the Sabres signed during free agency.

Leopold is a solid veteran defenseman who has been plagued with injuries the last few years. Leopold has played for Calgary, Colorado, Florida and Pittsburgh. Leopold played with Calgary when they went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 03-04.

Myers may possibly have a new role this season as Darcy Regier may feel that his giant defenseman is the future power play quarterback. Management has certainly been looking to improve their power play and looking for an answer to the disastrous power play they had in the playoffs.

Myers’ game is not all about offense (although we have seen him move up on the rush many times) as he is not an offensive defenseman like Mike Green of the Washington Capitals. Myers is very knowledgable of what to do once he gets the puck and knows how to play the body when he needs but he is not the most physical defenseman in the league.

After a rookie season like last year and winning the Calder, Myers is a promising young defenseman and can be the anchor of the Sabres point for many years.  He is still very young and he will make mistakes since he is only 20 years old, but he will learn from them.

If Myers does run into a rough patch during this season with whomever his partner is you should remember he is still very young and has already exceeded expectations. Myers is fully capable of being a perennial allstar in the league and potentially a Norris winner in the future. He will certainly be asking for a much bigger contract since he currently makes only 1.3 million per year.